One of the interesting things about Bach, many singers will tell you, is that he likes to use voices like instruments. On the flip side, Bach also sometimes liked to write for instruments in ways that made them sound like voices, as in this week's episode. In Bach's suite, the cellist plays the roles of "soloist" and "orchestra" simultaneously, playing both the long, singing melodic lines and the underlying harmonies. Next on the program is one of Bach's most famous melodies, in an arrangement for flute solo, played by flutist Paula Robison. The title "Air on a G string" actually wasn't applied to the piece until much later, when a 19th-century violinist transposed Bach's work down a whole step so that he could play the entire melody on the G string of his violin, the instrument's lowest string, giving it the lush, romantic era sonority many of us have come to identify with the piece.
Bach's Songs for Strings were delightful! What an amazing cellist Colin Carr is! It is so lovely to hear solo cello. Its sonority was remarkable. My grandnephew, Robert, is learning to play the cello. He is nine years old and he loves it. I hope to send him a copy of this beautiful recording. I also liked very much the rendering of Bach's Air on the G String by the Gardner Chamber Orchestra and Paula Robison.
I often think that stringed instruments, especially the violin, sound very close to the human voice. Bach certainly must have thought so. He was an amazing person!